From the submissions of almost every stakeholder who participated at the maiden edition of the African Edutech Conference held last week at Havilah event Center, Lagos, one of the things on the mind of key stakeholders in the education sector and Edu-Tech practitioners as President Muhammadu Buhari settle for second term in office, is that, the system of education in the country should be overhauled.
The stakeholders bemoaned that the system for teaching and learning from the nursery to the tertiary level of education in the country is obsolete. They want government to take the bull by the horn for a revamped technology driven system of education to be achieved.
The stakeholders spoke at the maiden African Edu-Tech Conference organised by EduFirst.ng in collaboration with the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce; with support from Olashore International School in Lagos.
The Conference had in attendance the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arch. Sonny Echono; Director General, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, Bunmi Afolabi; the Co-Founder and Project Coordinator at Skool Media, Moses Imayi; Business Manager, Edufirst.ng, Mr. Charles Dungor and Digital Innovation & Country Manager, EduFirst.ng, Idris Oladipo.
Other speakers and moderators were Principal, Olashore International School, Mr. Derrick Smith; Principal Consultant, Leading Learning Limited, Folasade Adefisayo; Team Lead, and HR Strategy & Projects, First Bank, Tomilayo Esan,
The forum featured education technology exhibitions, presentations and pitch sessions by students which drive home how technology can be used to impact everyday life.
The panel discussion was on the theme: ‘Education, Technology & Jobs: A Synergy that Works’.
Speakers after speakers reckoned that the scourge of unemployment is soaring in Nigeria. Most graduates from the education system of the country are not employable they said, noting that the system is obsolete and the graduates lack 21st century digital skills.
In his keynote address, Sonny Echono, who reeled out reports that 60 million adults are illiterate in Nigeria and over 10.2 million children are out-of-school, reckoned that the system can be overhauled and revamped with all handles on desk.
Echono resounded that technology is the ultimate tool to leverage to enable viable education and job creation. He explained, “With the depressing statistics, there is need to provide access, modernised delivery mechanism for teaching; increase the number of teachers; provide enabling environment and ensure even resources, as means to recreate the education system.”
“Education system has to provide graduates with adequate skills for present and future workplace. CBN’s 2018 statistics shows that Diaspora remittances to Nigeria exceeded the proceeds from oil revenue. In other words, we are no longer an oil economy rather human resource-based nation. Therefore, we need to stop brain drain.
“We must make our education competitive and attractive. Today, we use games to make education fun such that the children while playing they learn too. So, we must make our graduates employable.
“At the same time, we have to emphasis entrepreneurship. To create more jobs, we need more entrepreneurs who are using technology to innovate whether in agriculture, health, education, telecommunications, manufacturing, etc.
“As a government, we are keen to always facilitate public-private-partnerships that enable investments in the sector knowing that the expectations are huge.
He also called on stakeholders to create a structure for accountability among the school owners, teachers and students as means to tackle laxity in the system.
He however, did not fail to emphasis on the need to equip and re-equip the classrooms and laboratories with state-of-the-art tools to facilitate effective teaching and learning environment.
Earlier, the Acting President and Chairman in Council, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Kayode Falowo, said that conference was convened as part of the Chamber’s mandate to support the socio-economic development of Nigeria through educational development.
He said the Chamber through the African Edu-Tech platform will continue to provide the government, regulatory agencies, e.g Federal Ministry of Education, NUC, NERDC, WAEC, etc. and educational professionals, the opportunity to interact and share experiences on the revitalization of Nigeria’s education system, through the application of technology and innovation as key ingredients for educational transformation.
On his part, the Business Manager, EduFirst.ng, Mr. Charles Dungor, said that the goal for African Edu-Tech Conference was to bring all stakeholders in the education space to brainstorm on how best engineer a better system that recognises need for grooming students with 21st Century skills.
“I am sure that in the global scale we all know what is happening in Nigeria due to the decadence in the Nigerian educational system. We believe developing a platform as this will be an avenue for people to interact: proffer solutions; get public-private participants under a roof to dialogue and see how best to tackle the challenges so we can become globally competitive.
“The goal is simple: we have a lot of young people moving from the Secondary and colleges to universities, and other graduating from the universities, but they are not employable. This informed the theme of the conference, ‘Education, Technology & Jobs; A Synergy that Works’. How does this work? It deals with a competitive and effective interaction among stakeholders in the education sector, innovation (ICT) ecosystem, public-private sector participants to synergize,” Mr. Dungor said.
He continued, “As the first edition there will be a communiqué from the Conference to be sent to the government to highlight issues that were portrayed and solutions or recommendations proffered to resolve those educational issues.
“We have the body in charge of curriculum; the NCC that regulates telecoms and can recommend how they could go about assisting the education sector through their product offerings; NECO, which is an examination body and also WAEC; I believe some of their takeaways from this conference will reflect in decision and policy-making processes, just as the Acting Minister of Education, Arch. Sonny Echono who doubles as the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, delivered the keynote; he spoke ‘to the topic’ and proffered solutions from the Government point of view. He also stated clearly what the government is doing to bridge the gaps in the system and took feedback from the participants mostly from the private sector”.
Also commenting, the Principal, Olashore International School, Osun State, Mr. Derrick Smith, said in an interview that “the case with our schools is that we have to review the curriculum. We have to upscale the courses to reflect skills for the 21st Century among the students; such as critical thinking and problem solving, creativity, imagination, communication skills that will help them become citizens of the world.
“The curriculum should create room for the children to develop personally; bring up ideas, research, because it is no longer fashionable to teach-for-passing-exams; our children need to have the skills that are necessary in the workplace when they graduate which are also constantly changing. It is no longer interesting to train a child for a particular job; their skills should work in a variety of jobs,” he added.
Olashore International School is a leading community committed to academic excellence, nurturing each child to their full potential, developing leaders for the dynamic global society in the 21st Century.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) carefully designed and implemented the Advanced Digital Awareness Program for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI) as means to bridge the digital gaps that exist in the academia.
This was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, who spoke through the Director Research and Development NCC, Ephraim Nwokonneya.
He said that the project involves the provision of suites of e-learning applications for academics, students in tertiary institutions.
The EVC whose speech dwelt on the theme: ‘Promoting Internet Accessibility for Inclusive Learning and Development in Nigeria’, said that internet accessibility is at the heart of digital inclusiveness.
“It is indeed the practice of ensuring that there are no barriers to prevent interaction with or access to the internet”, the NCC boss said, “Coming down home to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), facilitating the development of a knowledge-based, inclusive and globally competitive environment, is at the heart of our regulatory focus.
Hence, the first item on the current 8-point agenda of the Commission is to facilitate broadband penetration in the country. We have carefully chosen this critical agenda to underscore the fact that the provision, access and use of affordable fixed and mobile broadband are critical for ubiquitous internet accessibility.”
NCC’s ADAPTI program involves the provision of computers, other ICT equipment and necessary facilities to provide lecturers, staff and students with the requisite ICT skills essential for the 21st Century digital economy.
“Through this program the Commission is able to specifically provide the tools that will enable familiarity, skill development and confidence in the utilization of ICT in teaching, research and learning”, he said.